Condom Availability and Education Program
In response to the growing sexual health concern, the Howard County Health Department (HCHD), in partnership with HCPSS and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), is providing sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention education and condom availability and education in high schools. This program encourages condom use among sexually active HCPSS high school students to help reduce the number of STIs.
Beginning in late January 2019, condoms will be available free of charge from the nurse’s office in all 12 HCPSS high schools, ARL and Homewood Center. The bag of condoms will include instructional and health resource information. Further STI prevention education is available through high school health classes.
While condoms, when used consistently and correctly, reduce the risk of STIs, only 67 percent of high school students reported using a condom during their last instance of sexual intercourse, according to the Maryland Department of Health’s 2016 Howard County Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Many states including Maryland have implemented condom availability programs in schools, and research has shown that these programs improve condom usage among youth.
Also, see information on STI screenings.
For more information
Howard County Health Department resources:
Kerrie Wagaman, Coordinator of Health Services, in the HCPSS Department of Program Innovation and Student Well-Being.
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Frequently Asked Questions on Condom Availability and Education Program
Who can request condoms?
HCPSS high school students are eligible to participate in this program.
How do high school students request condoms?
Condoms will be made available in the nurses’ offices. Students will speak with the school nurse to request condoms.
How many condoms will be made available to high school students who request them?
High school students will receive one bag of 6 latex condoms per visit.
Who will supply condoms for the program?
HCHD will supply condoms to HCPSS.
Will there be a cost to the students?
There is no cost to the student. Condoms will be provided for free to students.
How will education on use of condoms be provided?
Following HCPSS Sexual Health curriculum standards about STI prevention and proper use of condoms, each bag will contain information including, but not limited to, fact sheets on proper use of condoms. The school nurse will also be available to provide information and answer questions
Who is available to provide students with information and any needed counseling?
HCPSS nurses and counselors are available to provide counseling and information to students throughout the process. Students with questions about the condom availability program should contact their school nurse or HCHD.
Will these health room visits be recorded?
No identified data will be kept on the students. The names of students who receive condoms will be kept confidential. Parents will not be notified that their student received condoms.
Will parents/guardians be notified when a high school student requests and receives condoms and STI prevention education?
No. The Maryland Minor Consent Laws state that, “a minor has the same capacity as an adult to consent to treatment for or advice about venereal disease and treatment for or advice about contraception other than sterilization.”
How will students be informed of the program?
Information will be shared in the 9th grade health class, TeenHealthMatters.org, fliers located in nurse’s office and word of mouth.
What happens if my high school student is allergic to latex?
Any student with a latex allergy will work with the HCPSS school nurse for access to alternative products.
Where can I find more information about the program?
The school nurse will be able to answer any specific questions regarding condoms, and parents can also find more information on the HCPSS website as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Parents can also contact Kerrie Wagaman in the HCPSS Health Services Office.